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Motion Sickness on the rollercoaster of writing life. January 10, 2013

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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I thought long and hard about writing this here, but then I thought- this is a blog about me as a writer. I am an author of fiction, I am a professional writer with clients whom I write for. But all of this is my writing experience, which is why I started this blog. I won’t mention names, since they are irrelevant when it comes to my experience, or my impact of their actions upon me. But those of you close to me, will know whassup. Yes, I just used the word wassup. pony 1

 

In one week I have crashed, and then risen, in regards to what people think of me as a writer. With the support of family and friends, and wife, I chose to become a full-time professional writer. The thing I had been quietly telling people I was good at, I chose to actually tell the world- I am good at this. Writing is my passion, it is what I am here to do.

This decision was scary. The past mumblemumble months have been scary. 2013 is looking to be awesome, but, it hasn’t happened yet, so it is still scary. Having less than $100 to your name but still having to write STUFF, can be a very scary, soul-squeezing thing to do.

So, this week I was following up on a job. I have had some good leads of late, creative people who have a job, and need to hire a writer. It’s an agency model, but in miniature. I like it. A friend tells me I would be perfect to work in an agency, so this is, kind of, like training wheels. I think. Hmm, metaphor went a little screwy there.

Anyway, the project lead is unavailable, and in my puppy-dog-like keenness to get the job completed and make client happy, I rang him directly to obtain some feedback about a revision he had asked for.

Now, before I go any further, let me just say to those playing at home – this is not a wise idea. You only ever liaise with the person who hired you. If someone comes to you and says- I need help with a current job, you only talk to them. If a client hires you directly, you speak to them. Never cut out the middle man. But, I was keen to impress. Let me continue.

It was a brief conversation, however, as the gentleman said to me- “In short, I don’t like it. Either the brief you were given was not very clear, or you’re not very good at what you do.”

I ended that conversation quickly, assuring the client that I would speak with my guy when he comes back from break, and we will fix whatever, something, thanks, bye. That statement ripped the guts from me. I was left utterly stunned and literally shaking. No one, ever, has told me ‘to my face’, or ear, in this case, that I was possibly not good at what I do.

I took a HUGE leap of faith and risk to be a freelance writer because I had finally nutted up the courage in myself to say- you know what, I am good enough for this. And then suddenly, in … eight words, I am floored. My whole world is suddenly in chaos. What do I do? I’m not good as a writer? Does this mean I will have to go back to retail? Customer Service? Work my way up through office admin to a level of middle management and be a slave wage office monkey and OH MY GOD! (No offense intended to those who are in the white-collar work force. This is my brain going nuts, not my actual opinion.)

The first thing I did was ring my dad. Hey, I may be (mature age) years old, but still, I had to ring my dad. I then found a couple of people online and went- this guy just said stuff! I then had to go for a walk, which rid me of the jitters, but I still had that hole in my heart. I then had a slouch on the couch with my wife, and started to feel better.

All of these wonderful people reassured me that I am a good writer, and it is possibly something to do with the brief, or the client might not be clear about what they want, and when they saw what they DIDN’T want, lashed out at the person who produced it, without possibly taking time to think of constructive feedback, etc etc By later that evening, while not back on the horse, I was tentatively leading it around the corral and waiting for the right time to possibly get back in the saddle while no one was watching.

The next day dawns upon my world. I am still doing work, finishing up the edit and proofreading of a book, re-writing an awesome ‘about us’ page for a client, who is linking his staff to super heroes. I like it. I keep the basic structure of the piece, get some grammar into it, put some ‘superhero words’, like POW and FLASH and .. stuff, into it. I then wring my hands for an hour or so because of what was said the day before.

NO! I will get this out there, I cannot stop everything I am doing, because clients have asked me to do work! So I send it to this gentleman. And his response was – “I love it! Great work! It has my ideas but reads like velvet!”

In less than 24 hours I went from all the way down there, to all the way up there, but not with a look of glee on my face, more a look of – wtf just happened? holytaco---2-1279780296

Bad experiences will happen, I have been told this, and I have experienced this. But, looking at the statistics, more people say I am a good writer than those who say I am not. But isn’t it interesting how easily someone can be affected by negative opinions of themselves?

As I write this, I still have a lot of work lining up to do. I am still a little shaken, and will be for a few weeks, until I get back into that rhythm of writing, back into my comfort zone. The job for the person who thinks I might not be very good, is still to be reviewed and completed. So, I am not ‘there’, yet. But, I am hardier than I have been in the past. I am closer to the ‘fuck you I so am totes an awesome writer’.

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Looking back on 2012… December 31, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Uncategorized.
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It is the end of the year! It wasn’t the end of the world, which is a good thing, because I know the next year for me is going to be awesome, and it would be a shame if it had ended.

And the year 2012 has been alright for me too. I will try to be chronological, but that goes against the logic of my brain, and I can’t remember everything anyway.

In January I was riding high on the fact I had a 94k word novel. I was determined to release it by February 14th! I had artwork designed with that very thing in mind. I had editors read it, but dear me, I underestimated the length of time required to edit, re-write and get it polished! So, I compromised and had Act 1 ready to go on February 14th as a tease. I got a LOT of good responses from people who read it.

But what I liked a lot was Scarlett Archer telling me that I needed to re-write this, that I NEEDED to finish the story, because it was a fantastic story and people needed to read it.

What I also learned so early in the year was that sometimes you needed to gut your work, admit that something didn’t work. Even if it is many words of text, you have to make the hard choice to edit. In Act 1 of my story – The Girl From Out of Town, Navarr and Mizzell originally go to the Royal Ball, upon invitation from the Prince. While there they are found by agents of the Cabal, and there is a fight, a chase, and it heads to the docks where they hide, and then convince Truen to let them on to his ship. It got my characters where they needed to go, but it just didn’t work. Cutting that all out, making them go to the ball at Navarr’s work, where they get discovered and flee, then a major fire fight at the docks in which they are flung, near dead, onto a fleeing ship? Far more cool.

2 complete re-writes, consultation with a genuine cover designer, who now works for Amazon (I know someone cool in the book world…), IT troubles with both Smashwords and Amazon, but, I released my first novel to the world, on July the 3rd. It was meant to be the 1st, but yeah, IT issues. But…. PUBLISHED AUTHOR! I think I am supposed to get a tattoo now. Sales have not been as astronomical as I thought they would be, but they are there. People I know, and people I DONT know are reading my book. That is a very cool feeling.

Professionally I re-branded myself from Matthew Farmer – Copywriter, to Wonderdog Writing Solutions –> Print

I discovered trying to explain “copy writing’ to those who were not too sure was not as easy as I thought. However, a writer? That made more sense. Do you write this? Yes, yes I do. Do you write tenders? Yes, a successful tender for l-markperry, if you don’t mind. Do you write brochures? Yes, indeed I do, how about this noni_young_logo, or this cvc logo small ? Have you written a book? Yes I have –> mattfarmer_gfoot_front_final_2.

I gained a Business Coach, who is making me see writing as a business is not as scary and hard as I thought, all I need is a direction, a goal, a dream, and to stick to it.

Through this year I have discovered there are more people out there struggling as a writer than I thought. More people who are scared of it, and yet, give it a go anyway. There are people out there who are braver than me and publish themselves, put themselves into the glare of the internet, with abandon! And then there are those who should be doing it, but don’t have the courage.

The second kind of people? We have found each other, formed a support  group, and are going forward, with pom poms and cheering from the rest of us!

I have found a “partner in crime” for my writing. We are going to collude and champion each other, keep each other honest and on the path of the quill and ink.

I have also discovered that I still enjoy writing. I am not writing creatively as much, not so much prose, but that is because I am being creative with my writing in a business sense. The new year is bringing me a swathe of websites, articles and brochures to write, and I must be differently creative for each one, for each client. How can I best express to customers the value of this company, and this company, and this one over here? Three different entities, with 3 different styles of language, all wanting to say the same thing – in the field of X, I am an expert, and you need to do business with me.

I enjoy the challenge of a creative writing assignment, amazing people with it, and then being able to move on to something completely new.

And I am enjoying that my writing is going to take me somewhere. It is going to take me to America. It is going to take me into a creative office space. It is going to take me to different offices, cafes, groups of people. It is going to take me to different opinions and views from people. And, just as importantly, my writing, with prose and novels, is taking me into the skies and beyond.

The biggest thing I discovered about myself this year, is I enjoy being a writer. I cannot do this alone, no writer can. I have the support of a loving wife, and friends who champion me, and believe that I am a good writer, and not in the way of patting me on the back because I am their friend. But because they truly see value in what I produce, they see merit in my advice and my views on writing, and on story.

I believe 2012, for me, was the year I truly believed that I will always be a writer, and 2013 is the year my writing will be bigger, better and take me to more places than I could imagine.

 

2012 in review December 31, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Uncategorized.
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 940 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Ideal Working Day – version 1 December 11, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Uncategorized.
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In my professional writing life, I am lucky enough to have the services of a Business Coach. He is helping me think of ways to market myself, to come up with business goals, and to visualise where i want to take my writing business and my writing career.

One of the homework exercises he had me do is a three page, hand-written, description of my ideal working day. He explained that I can be as fantastic as I want to be. However, when I wrote mine, I was much more grounded in the every day life, with no fanciful dreams, no unicorns or flying cars. And yet, at the same time, my ‘ideal working day’ seemed completely and entirely possible, to me.

It is called Version 1, because in 2 weeks, or 1 week, I get to write version 2. And then version 3. Plus, I get to write a entire week of ideal working days, which will include one full day for writing novels and being creative. AND allowing time to read.

But now, without further ado, I present to you my first version of an ideal working day. On reflection, it is quite busy, and you would think that an ideal day is working for half of it, and then sleeping the other half, like a cat.

office

My ideal working day, version 1 – Wednesday 5th December

I wake up around 6.30am. I get out of bed when my wife does, and head into the kitchen. Toaster on, kettle on.

I make one slice of toast for my wife, knowing she will buy more breakfast when she gets to work. I make her a cup of tea and a coffee for myself. I make her lunch and put it into the Adelaide Crows lunch box because, despite saying she will buy herself a new lunch box, she still hasn’t.

I put a load of washing on, do some tidying up and see my wife off at the door. I then put on a DVD and hit the exercise bike for an hour.

After the bike I am back in the kitchen for breakfast and another cup of coffee. Then it is a shower and start the day.

I head up stairs to my office. It is a room on the top floor of our house, with a balcony and outside stairs, so clients may visit me without going through the house. There is a tiny kitchenette with coffee and cookie facilities, a sink and a bar fridge with essentials.

It is a good sized room, painted in light colours. Being on top of the house there are windows showing many directions, letting in light from wherever it may be shining. Book cases fill in most of the spaces between windows, although there is some room for art, paintings and photos my wife has taken and I have framed. And a framed collection of novel covers.

My desk is an l-shaped desk with filing cabinets behind and on the wall, for clients, and for creative ventures, such as writing clubs, or short stories, magazines and other submissions. On my desk are three monitors for my computer, an ergonomic keyboard and many-buttoned mouse.

In the middle of the room is a couch and some couch chairs around a coffee table. A meeting place, the couch is long enough for me to sleep on it if I have late sessions writing.

I turn my computer on and have the emails download. I check the analytics for my website and two others I have written copy for, building a case study for a new product I am writing up. Before and after stats for website traffic, based on Facebook & LinkedIn campaigns I have run for clients, and web-copy I have re-written for them.

Being Wednesday morning I have social media work to do for two companies – a Business Coach & Inspirational Speaker, and an Office Furniture company. I start with the furniture company for the first hour.

Over the weekend there was a furniture conference in the US. I have a list of office furniture which was displayed, with reviews and images. I had sent these to my client asking which ones they would be importing. There is a reply from the client telling me which ones to expect and when. I begin writing up some mini-articles about the furniture, linking to the reviews and have them scheduled to appear over the next week.

During the weekend I monitored hash-tags and re-tweeted on behalf of my client. These have produced some feedback which I reply to. I had also made internet-friends with a journalist who was doing some work at the show. He has let me use his material on my client’s social media portfolio in exchange for by-line credits and a link to his blog and website.

When the first article is posted at the end of the hour, I make sure I share it with my friends, and some contacts who have purchased previously from my client. I drop onto some Facebook walls of clients and let them know there is a preview of new stock. This begins to drive traffic to my client’s FB wall.

The next hour I spend on my Business Coach client. He is a voracious reader and likes to read books relevant to his field and review them. It is one of the ongoing themes of his wall. He gets a lot of likes for these. I sometimes have to edit the reviews down, but more recently I have convinced him to install a blog on his website so we can preview the book and send people to his site to read the full review.

Last week one of the authors saw the review of his own book, and now they are Facebook friends. There is going to be an interview later, and possibly some signed copies of books to give away.

After updating his calender, posting some testimonials and such, I turn my email back on to check for more work.

There is a couple of emails requesting articles. One in particular relates to the recent popularity of independent book stores in light of the big chain book stores falling down. I accept that article request. I search for some articles on the subject, find a blog post or two, some passionate rants about it, and I call a couple of book store owners I know and ask if I Can interview them later today. They both agree.

I have also received an e-book review request. I am a member of a writing and editing group who read, review and rate each others work, and help with marketing each others work.

An old client has emailed me asking what is required to add a blog to his website, and add this to his portfolio.

I open his file. He is a Landscape Gardener who works very closely with a builder. I have written some flyers and contributions for an industry newsletter. I have suggested to this person in the past, to keep a diary of jobs – photos, some rough notes, which I can embellish and make more prose-like. I also suggested that, for a discount on his fee, he gets one of HIS clients to do the same. An awesome testimonial of what he is doing. In one instance he even produced a photo-book for a client of his. Awesome experience.

I suggest he comes around after work, to talk about adding the Blog to the portfolio he has with me.

It is around lunchtime. I make a sandwich and get another coffee, then look through the ‘possible work’ file I have. This includes publishers and what they are looking for, upcoming writing contests and anthologies looking for content. One anthology is looking for ‘happy cyberpunk’. This intrigues me and I look into it more. A request for a happy story set in the world of VR, cyber-tech, near future setting.

I grab a note pad and pen and start doodling ideas. I use the notion of ‘punk’, being against the ‘man’, and think of a cyber revolution. Or a take over of an evil regime by virtual means. I think of a place like Second Life, a place where people actually work. They are at home, plugged in, and work in a virtual office, but on a larger scale, and how their minds can be freed. It is starting to feel a little bit like the Matrix, so I scrap that idea.

Then I think about over-throwing a country. I need an evil dictator. Former Soviet Union or Africa? I flip a coin, it lands heads- Africa. Google Maps gives me some West African nations. I choose Togo, sine it is a short name. I do some research, figure out some simple methods of over throwing the government through the use of technology – emptying bank accounts, taking over infrastructure etc.

This takes me a relaxed hour. I am sitting in my comfy chair writing notes, thinking up character names, hacker handles and such. I check the time, its nearly time to go out and interview book store owners. I ring my wife and have a chat, finish my lunch and then head out into the world.

My first interview is with the owner of a science fiction/fantasy/horror book shop and comic store. He is located in a shopping mall but is surviving quite well. It is a casual interview, talking about why he runs this particular kind of book store etc. During the interview one of his ‘neighbours’ from the shopping mall comes in to say hi. I introduce myself as a copy writer and professional writer, and he asks the difference.

“As a copy writer I can produce the copy for one-off products such as DL Flyers, catalogues, newsletters and so on. I can help with an integrated portfolio of branded social media content, dynamic web-copy, blogging and other social media. As a Professional Writer, I write books, novels and short stories, articles, and I consult and audit web pages and edit documents for clients.

The visitor, Andrew, mentions he Doesn’t like his website. It reads poorly. I hand him my card and I say I will look at his website and give him a free appraisal by Friday. He gives me his card and I notice that where his website is listed, there is “.home.html” is added in pen. I immediately tell him that is a problem which needs fixing. He knows, he is just trying to get rid of the last of his business cards. I tell him- my first impression? It is very amateur, and I wouldn’t go looking. I don’t care if you’re trying to get rid of the cards, you’ve just had a poor impact on me. He agrees, and then leaves us to finish our interview. I know by the end of the week I am going to have a new client.

I leave for the second book store, calling him to apologise for being a little bit late. While I am driving a Real Estate agent calls me and asks if I could see a house with him tomorrow and write up a side bar ad, a quarter page ad and a blurb for websites. Sure, tomorrow morning, see you then.

When I arrive at the book store, the owner introduces me to a couple of kids as the writer of those books over there. They each buy a copy and ask me to sign them. We get chatting about how to write, what am I writing now, and so on. It is not until the store closes that I get to interview the owner.

I rush home from the book store so I will be available for the 6.30 meeting with my landscape gardener client. I meet my wife, tell her I have a client, which means we will HAVE to have take out Thai food for dinner.

The client arrives soon after, sharing photos from the day. My suggestion to let the people he is working for take pictures and write about him, is providing some great feedback, and referrals for more work. He is becoming quite busy!

After the pleasantries he asks if I can write the blog for him. I suggest a weekly blog article by me, but he can update with pictures as often as he likes, link to Facebook etc. I also suggest pitching some ideas to some magazines, take the blog content and making them reach a wider audience. He asks if I Can do that? Yes I can.

He leaves after an hour or more. 8 pm and I am reclining on the couch with my wife, eating re-heated Thai food, watching some movies.

and on the 7th day, he was still writing Nanowrimo.. November 7, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing, writing.
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7 days into the month of November, a month which brings you a world of men growing moustaches for a good cause –

A month which brings you the “Race that stops a nation” 

An election in some country –

And an awesome world wide writing contest!

I am currently sitting on just over 13 000 words on day 7, which is ahead of schedule. November 1st was a Thursday, and I didn’t really get started writing until 10pm that night. Friday was out for me, and so was most of Saturday, so, I wrote the bulk of my words in the 2 days of Monday and Tuesday. Not bad.

I am having a very casual word war with Penmonkey. She and I are old hats at Nanowrimo. We are both confident of hitting the 50k score SOMETIME this month, so are just slowly pottering along, encouraging and taunting each other. I feel like a gentlmanly old man, walking arm and arm with a ‘lady’ pointing my cane at the youth of today and saying- off you go, write with vigour. We will see you home soon. Rah rah, pip pip!

What I have noticed, and enjoyed, in the past couple of days, is the anarchy of characters taking over the writing. I have been writing so controlled for so long, either editing a novel already in play, or writing copy which needs control in and of itself, that to have characters do unexpected things, has been both scary and fun. What do I mean?

Well, I did plan on my MC’s having a battle with slavers, discovering how they are capturing so many slaves so easily. What I did not intend on happening was Mizzell being captured, and Navarr launching a solo boarding mission to rescue her! Luckily 2 of his allies joined him, but still, 3 people against a boatload of slavers?

I have been stuck in this scene for a day or more trying to figure out how to get them out. Navarr caught a knife in the left shoulder, so now that arm doesn’t work, one of the Mountain Men is down, blood everywhere, possibly dead. There is no key to the slave cage, and to top it off, the fight is happening around a great hole in the bottom of a sky ship. Any wrong move and you’re freefalling.

I must admit I am not writing with as much gusto as  I did last year. I feel more like I am putting in the yards and getting ahead of the word count, but I am not rushing ahead with a wicked gleam in my eye. It is possibly outside influences, or pressures. For example, today, I have a to-do list. I have a timer set on 50 minutes, so I dedicate some time to each dot point, and then have a ten minute break. The list includes-

  • Writing my Facebook Document & promotional material
  • Blog writing
  • Social Media work for Ilinga Books
  • Write and review and update website
  • Filling out worksheets examining completion on copy writing & marketing channels worksheet
  • Writing novel

Some where in there I might leave the house.

I have always said that Nanowrimo is good for showing how you can really work writing around your life. I am trying to squeeze it into my writing life, as a writer, while I write, other stuff. And, lacking on that list is client work, which I haven’t got at the moment. I am working on a plan to go GET clients, but I don’t think it is a real, exact science, not for me. Maybe people will need great copy to sell their wares ‘just in time for Christmas?

Well, as you can see, writing a blog post was number 2 on the list, and according to my counter, I have 8 minutes left. This gives me enough time to talk about future projects. I am planning a collection of short stories based in the world of my current Steampunk novels. Events which happen, seen from other points of view perhaps? Other locations which had a brief mention getting some meat and potatoes? I like the idea of a rogue piece written from the Ravens point of view, the Royal Secret Service. That could be cool.

I am planning to put together a collection of articles on how I plot and plan and write a book. My 11th Nanowrimo and I am getting people asking me how i do it, how I continually do it, and what do I do? So,  I have taken some time to figure out what it is I do, since some people are curious and want to know.

Thanks to a client, I have created another package I can offer to clients- the Sock-Knocking Tag-Line package. Watch this space for more!

The Plots are Plotted October 23, 2012

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8 days out from the start of Nanowrimo. I have settled on my three plots, and I am happy. I changed it up slightly from my original plan. I was going to have the 3 plots mingle and weave around each other, but considering the actual geographical location of the 3 plots and who are in each plot, that would have been just crazy.

So now the plots all come together at the end. I am once again, planning an epic battle at the end of the book, and the rough sketch I have on it, it is going to be awesome. A land, air and sea battle (yes, on the waters, where you might find out why the people in this world use sky ship and not boats…), plus the battle is going to be taken to the other world for a bit, just for funsies.

I am a little bit fearful of running three plots. How much time do I give to each plot, and where does that time get allocated? One chapter each? Jump between all three per chapter? Or write one entire plot, and then get to a point, go back and start another plot so I don’t lose that writerly flow? This is a decision I am going to have to make before Nanowrimo starts, I know that.

My next step is to look through art that I have, looking for environmental imagery, character art to represent people in my story, and redoing my map. I enjoyed having a map last year, eve if I didn’t publish it. It gave me a sense of place.

And then I am going to write an exciting preview for the book. I already have it in mind. I will release the preview to the world, get people excited about my book again!

How to conquer self-doubt October 6, 2012

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This article appeared in my content feed today:

how-to-conquer-self-doubt-and-just-write It is a guest post by CC Hunter. It has 5 points which make sense, and of which I would like to comment. Now, I have seen many other ways to conquer self doubt, and gosh knows I have it in spades. I am a professional writer now. Before when I was a wage-earner, and wrote nanowrimo novels only, if I wrote something bad, and no one liked it, that was okay. Hurtful, but okay. Now, I worry that if someone doesn’t like my work, I won’t get them again as a client, and it will cost me money, hurt my professional reputation, and a bad word will be spread about me. Self doubt? Oh hell yes.

So, let me look at these 5 tips.

1. Be Aware or Peer Pressure.

“…If you’re hanging out with negative people, people who have lost their ability to chase their dreams, you’re at risk of becoming just like them..”

Now, while I witness this in other people, other writers, I can say that, surrounding me, are remarkably positive people. I have friends around me who cheered loudly when I chose to become a freelance writer, as if- yes this is what you are SUPPOSED to be doing. I had so many people cheer me on when I self-published my book as if- yes, this is what you are SUPPOSED to be doing!

I have professional mentors backing me up, wanting me to succeed, helping me along the way. I have people who are testing the waters with me, using my services on small jobs. I have been called- ‘enthusiastic’ which, I frown at and think- compliment? But then, enthusiasm is better than professional complacency, I figure.

I am surrounded by people who support me, encourage me, smack me over the back of the head when I doubt myself, tell me that i am skilled, and talented, and not just to massage my ego. I am thankful to all of them, and I have told them, I think. If not, hi. Thanks peeps 🙂

2. Ward off the message that you don’t know what you’re doing by continually growing at a writer.

I said when I started my professional career that I have known the craft of writing for many many years, but now I am learning the BUSINESS of writing. I can see in myself that, jobs I had at the start of the year, if given the chance to do them now, I would do a better job. I am lucky in that I have the chance to grow my writing career inside the comfort zone of a business networking group, rather than throw myself on the knives of pure capitalism where, if you’re learning, you wont get much repeat business.

But, I do grow as a writer. I do not think anyone will ever be fully developed as a person, as a creator, as a dynamic being. You always have something to learn, some way of growing. I am willing o learn, willing to grow, willing to listen to people when they say- I’d like you to say this, or this, with your writing.

3. Mentor someone else

I don’t know if I am specifically mentoring one person, but I do put on the elder hat when I am in the Nanowrimo forums. I am not the oldest person participating in my region, but I am the longest serving Melbourne member. I offer writing and creative advice, ask questions and the like. I find myself answering questions about how to plot or plan, by showing how I do it, my “railway line” technique. reassuring people when they overly complicate things. I speak with a voice of authority and experience because, while I may have only published this year, I have successfully written 9 novels prior to that.

And when it comes to professional work, I seem to be taking on the role of a mentor. I have been having a conversation about how to quote for a job, how to be strong enough in yourself to quote what you’re worth, and not what you think someone will pay if you beg them because you REALLY need the money. In this example, I found a website which displayed editing rates of academic writing. I figured out a rate for a client, and dropped $20 off it. That way, if the client questioned why so much, I can show them what the market is charging, and how I am cheaper than the market because i want their business. I passed this knowledge onto a friend of mine who wants to be a freelance editor and writer, but is still too afraid to boldly charge higher due to self worth. I figure, if you have the social proof of a price, and can beat it, then that’s one very good step forward.

I want to help others. I have so many people helping me, I want to pass it forward.

4. Be leery of ruts.

I have these. I get in a funk and can’t write. I get them when writing supporting documentation for myself, the kind of writing which might not lead anywhere but I have to do them anyway. The suggestion is you should write something else, another genre, another form. Go write by hand, perhaps read something. But me, I sometimes feel- if I am not writing, I am not working, and I need to work to get paid, but not all the writing I am doing is paid work  etc etc etc. See where that leads?
5. Accept that sometimes you are going to fail.

This is a hard one to accept. With the economic situation, failing really isn’t a great option. I fail, then it gets tough. However, to learn, you need to fail. You find out what didn’t work, so you can make it work next time. It is how you accept failure as well, which makes you strong. Accept responsibility, if you can, and then control how YOU will not fail the next time.

When you talk about self-doubt, failure is the strongest poison there is. Doubting yourself to begin with, and then failing? It is a real bad mix. And you need to be willing to listen to, and believe, when your friends, your mentors, people who truly care about you and your work, tell you that you are good enough, that you are not a complete failure. They sometimes know more than you do.

These are only 5 suggestions and 5 items of self doubt. There are more, I know. But it is good to start with a small number, conquer those, and then work on the bigger picture.

 

The Month of Plotting and Planning- 2012 October 3, 2012

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October has arrived, and in my world, this makes it the month of Plotting and Planning. The month I spend preparing myself to jump back into next month, National Novel Writing Month.

This years planning involves plotting 3 story arcs. The Cornwallis has headed out of the Realm and headed south into the desert lands, where slavers rule the markets and nomads ride on magnificent prehistoric beasts. Meanwhile Navarr and Mizzell are living in in The Glade, with Mizzell’s great grandmother. How did she get from her world to ours, I wonder….

And in the big city, the Cabal who control Lenzell and Associates are licking their wounds- they lose their hunting party right before they need them the most; Mizzell has escaped their grasp and they are on the verge of civil war with the Royal Family. Luckily for them they have new technology and a new line of Golems to bring to market. But where is this new technology coming from?

So, I have 1 out of those 3 story lines pretty much plotted. So I will work on the other 2.

And I am drawing a map. I drew one last time, for personal references. After talking to other people, they felt, and so did I, that I didn’t need a map. The story can take you through the world without having to plot it on some hand-sketched map stuck at the front of the book.

I am also trawling the internet for imagery, pictures of places, characters, vehicles, things, guys riding giant lizards, all of which will inspire me and make me remember what characters look like.

I need to finish off some formalised work before the end of October, so I can have some paid work to coincide with my novelling.

I enjoy November. I think I enjoy November in the same ways that I enjoy Thursdays. I Thursdays because at the end of the day I knew the next day would be casual friday where, even though I was working, it was casual, I could wear jeans and people seemed more relaxed and playful. So, Thursday was the day before the relaxed day before the weekend.

November feels like that. December you tend to switch off and relax in the summer sun- parties galore. But November is a month leading up to it. Its building in its playfulness, but is still work related. I don’t know if that explanation was very clear, but it made sense to me.

I think getting more into the creative writing might just get me into here more. I should be more disciplined.

Sorry I haven’t blogged, I lost the keys… September 26, 2012

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And doesn’t that excuse sound pathetic? Well, it should. It has been a case of – have I been doing anything worth writing about? Let me think.

  • I am writing up some documents to give away FREE on my website. You need to entice people to like you more. Give them something free for making the effort to come and see you.
  • I put together another newsletter
  • I am putting together a weekly presentation for my BNI group. Yep, another weekly thing for them.
  • A quick job which landed on my phone last week

I have planned 3 stories, short stories, for the world of my novel. And then I got a cool idea about some cross-over scenes between short story and novel, and so now I am re-thinking so I can have ALL of them cross-over. I DO plan on writing these as part of my October plotting and planning month. Get me a feel for the world again, writing about the vast deserts in the south.

But, to be honest, while I have been writing, I have not been doing much writing of substance. I think I slipped into neutral. Trying to maintain my writing has been a bit tiring of late.

However, the most productive time of the year is coming for me. So I expect to be writing and blogging and novelling and writing and doing a few newsletters and stuff. Just to remind myself that I can fit it all into one day.

Now, its 11.30 at night, and I am doing some homework. MORE WRITING! 🙂

Sometimes it is okay to not write, just admit that you’re not. Don’t make dinky and silly excuses.

 

Absence makes the mind go wander… September 2, 2012

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According to the stats, it has been almost a month since I last blogged. I should be blogging more regularly, I should. This is a way to keep in touch with an audience, and a way for you to get to know me.

So what have I been doing for almost a month? Let me see.

I have been concentrating on the professional side of my writing, trying to build that some more. To this end I have engaged a business coach and I am learning about Neuro Linguistic Programming, the language of selling, how to shape your language to one of persuasion, of a more positive nature. When someone asks you how you are, rather than saying- “not bad” which is, essentially 2 negatives, you say- I’m pretty good, 2 positives. Both answers more or less mean the same thing, right?

I have been studying up and strengthening my knowledge of Social Media, as it is a product I am offering, professionally, to clients. Building and running a social media presence for them, finding relevant content for their industry and engaging with followers and people who like them. And offering it cheaper than my competition, it seems. 😉

On the creative front, the novel isn’t selling that well, but then I did slacken off on the marketing front. Without constantly posting links to my book on Facebook, which reaps me likes but no sale, I’m not too sure what I can do to make sales on the book. I have tried to work the Goodreads, but am still getting lost over that. So much social media, so little brain cells!

I have sat with my cover designer to organise the printed version of my book. I still need to confirm the book size, and arrange the rear cover. This is something to be done during the week, and not on weekends apparently.

An idea which was posed to me was to write some short stories based in my steampunk verse, to give it some background, some depth and colour and history and stuff. I like the idea and have a couple of ideas, but the ideas are not strong enough to be total stories. And since all of my readers have purchased my book and have read it, I no longer have to consider spoilers when I talk about them. Also, my vandalwife has suggested that this blog would be good place to put the ideas, even if they are not whole stories, just to give an idea as to how my brain works.

Scary thought.

I have thought of the back story to Tempest and how she obtained her dragon-skin cloak, and the dragon hunt she went on. But then, how is that a story? Show her hunting a dragon? Which you know she does because she has the coat, and the blades, and her special ammunition for her pepper-box gun. I think it might deepen the mystery about her, rather than give any insight, since I do plan a reveal in book 2.

I thought of a story about a couple of smart, and smart-arsed, students at the Voroy University of Darbeton. They are like, anarchic students, think Revenge of the Nerds, or Animal House. They prank the dean, who happens to be Voroy. Voroy gets quite mad, and being on the board of Lenzell and Associates, revenge is quite the trip. Slap Stick doesn’t feel quite right, as I am still inspired by those films, and trying to think of WHAT they do which is so dastardly that they get expelled is still working its way through my brain…

I am thinking of writing a couple of shorts based in the Southern Lands (Sequel = South of the Border, remember?). This can set up some back-story characters, and get me into my own worlds, a visit before I set up shop there in November. Ideas include a reluctant or forbidden love story, something about slavery, or the beasties they are riding around on. Perhaps, during October, I should write these as apart of my plotting and planning month.

I haven’t written anything novellistic this month, and funnily enough I haven’t missed it. But it doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it, or considered options. But just thinking about it, isn’t the same as doing it, which is more powerful.